News & Commentary

July 9, 2024

Sunah Chang

Sunah Chang is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary: Bloomberg publishes an investigation into workplace sexual harassment at SpaceX, Paris airport workers announce a strike ahead of the Olympics, and Korean autoworkers reach a tentative agreement with Hyundai. 

Yesterday, Bloomberg Businessweek published an investigative report examining sexual harassment allegations against SpaceX. Two years ago, SpaceX terminated eight workers after they spoke out against the company’s hyper-masculine culture. According to these workers, it was commonplace for male workers at SpaceX to subject women to inappropriate jokes mimicking Musk’s tweets, openly stare at women’s bodies, and disparage their capability of being engineers. When the workers came together to pen an open letter to management expressing concerns about the company’s culture, SpaceX fired them.

In January of this year, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against SpaceX, which alleged that the company’s decision to fire the eight employees was unlawful. However, the NLRB’s case has been indefinitely postponed pending SpaceX’s separate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NLRB. Facing this legal purgatory, the employees have proceeded to file another lawsuit in California state court, which accuses SpaceX and Elon Musk of sexual harassment and whistleblower retaliation. 

Over in Paris, multiple unions representing workers at Aeroports de Paris have announced their plans to launch a strike on July 17—just nine days before the 2024 Olympics. The CGT, CFDT, FO, and UNSA unions have called the strike in order to demand that all staff receive a bonus for working through the Olympics. An airport workers’ strike would pose a major disruption to increased travel and tourism; thousands of athletes will begin arriving in on July 18, followed by hundreds of thousands of tourists who will flock into Paris on a daily basis throughout the Olympics season. 

Meanwhile, in Korea, autoworkers have reached a tentative agreement with Hyundai, narrowly averting a strike planned for later this week. After rounds of negotiations over the course of 46 days, the union and Hyundai announced a new contract, which will increase workers’ monthly salary by $80.46 and boost bonus incentives and company stocks. The union’s 43,000 members will vote on whether to ratify the tentative deal this Friday.

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